RAISON D’ETRE 2015: THROWN ASUNDER – THE WGS SS SEMINAR I
Greek intellectualism descended in WGS campus as The WGS Humanities Department conducted its annual signature event, Raison D’etre in a Socratic Seminar style. Departing from the usual mass lecture and breakout session format, Humanities teachers and students took the roles of Socrates and Plato to learn and practice questioning techniques so as to enhance their analytical eye when examining sources.
The focus of the course is a case study found in Chapter 1 of the Secondary 4/5 Social Studies textbook, ‘Managing Peace and Security: Regional and International Conflict’.
This seminar is part of The Distinctive WGS Social Studies Enrichment Programme for 4E/5N which is in support of WGS Strategic Thrust 1: Academic Excellence.
The objectives of the seminar include: to stimulate students’ thinking so that they can analyse sources in different perspectives and also to question those perspectives; to instil in students the inner voice of Socratic Questioning; to provide an alternative platform for students to build content knowledge about the topic beyond the textbook; hone source-based questions skills and provide opportunities for Humanities teachers to come together to present expert knowledge on the topic.
The programme covers socratic seminar sessions to further hone their higher order thining skills.
The Προγραμματ?ζω (Progrmateuso – Programme) opened with an opening speech by VP1, Mdm Masayu. This was followed by ?ρκο? (orkos - oath)-taking ceremony by all facilitators and participants as a form of commitment to observe honourable decorum in intellectual discourse.
Students then proceeded to the various παλα?στρα (palestra - arenas) for their συνεδρια (synedria - session) with the facilitators, the Humanities teachers.
Utilising socratic questioning techniques, they first dissected the Background Information followed by scrutinising the pictorial source.
Students delved into this pedagogical style with enthusiasm realising ideas and issues new to them.
Even teachers acquired greater experience from this pedagogical platform as they engaged students in discussions.